Having signed on with the Assets Agency as one of their social media influencers, Katherine Beirne now splits her time between home in Smarmore, Ardee and Dublin – where college and tenative steps into the world of modelling vie for her attention.
Currently a UCD student, as well as her social media endeavours, Katherine is involved with modelling, college radio station Belfield FM and is currently filling her summer with internships before it’s back to reality next month. We caught up with her to find out about being a influencer with Ireland’s premier model and talent agency. You can check her out on Instagram – @petrolrose.
Hey Katherine, thanks for chatting with us. So, for those who don’t know – what is a social media influencer?
A social influencer is somebody who has a page on a particular social media platform. Mine just happens to be Instagram. There’s people on the Assets books who would be on YouTube. Basically it’s recognising that people have an audience. When companies want to advertise, nowadays – its very hard to advertise to millennials or Generation Z. We have blinded ourselves to advertisements, we don’t tend to take them in or notice them.
Companies tend to go with people who genuinely like the product. There’s no point in someone pushing something just for the sake of it. They might get you to try it out, test, see if you like it and if you do, they’ll pay you to advertise it – or give you the product in return for a post or a mention. When you do post, it’s very important to flag that as being an advertisement.
You’re on Instagram, how many followers do you have?
I have just hit 12,400 followers recently (from 147 posts). When I started, it was only because my friends had it and it was another way to connect. You start hearing about people who are doing well on it.
So, how does someone go from setting up an account to gaining such a big audience – one big enough to be considered one of Ireland’s top online influencers?
I started too pick up a couple of rules that I started to set for myself. It started to explode and it really has done. I have over 12,400 followers, and it’s insane really.
What are those rules then?
I try to a) know my brand, b) be authentic and c) know my audience.
I limit the number of selfies I post. If someone clicks onto my site and all they see is selfies and every one looks the same, they’re not going to subscribe to that because they’ve seen that picture a thousand times before. They’re going to want to see something different.
It’s important that you actually like the stuff – people will only subscribe to authenticity. In terms of being authentic, when posting pictures of yourself and using filters – if somebody doesn’t feel like they’re looking at the real you, they’re not going to actually want that.
Somebody who is covered in spots of wrinkles is a lot more interesting that somebody who’s face is so blurred you can’t see what they’re features. You have to make other people interested in you. People are bombarded with advertisements, unless you are being genuine, they don’t want people there for the sake of it. They won’t be interested. They want somebody they can relate to.
What would you consider are your most relatable posts?
I tend to post pictures of my cats – because lots of people are into cats.
You mention that your numbers of followers have exploded? How does that happen?
I think it came from following my rules – limiting selfies, making posts interesting, thinking of shape, not putting too many filters on, posting consistently over the day etc.
Can you tell us about how you came to be signed up as a social influencer with the Assets Agency? Among the other social influencers on their books are well known celebrities – Keith Duffy, Amanda Brunker, Claudine Keane and Nadia Forde.
I followed their page on Instragram anyway. One of the posts came up on my feed and I saw they were taking in social influencers. I didn’t really understand what it meant at the time. I had about 7,000 followers at the time – big on the Irish spectrum, but wouldn’t even place globally.
I thought it was interesting and then left it a couple of months.
I started getting approached by companies to promote their products. I didn’t want to have to vet their products by myself because I don’t know enough about them and the law and no way to check the out. So, I approached the company. They had a limit of 10,000 followers but I just happened to have 10,000 at the time. It was the prudent thing to do so I wasn’t the only trying to figure out what the company is about.
How important is that?
It means instead of a company coming to me and dictating to me what they pay, it’s better to go through an agency. It’s about recognising it’s value. It means with a couple of posts a month, I might be able to pay rent through college.
What has started as me posting crap from my room, has turned into me potentially being able to pay my own rent. It’s insane.
Your Instagram handle is @petrolrose. What does that mean and where does it come from?
I was 12 and in my room and I thought I was cool. The band The Undertones became That Petrol Emotion when the lead singer left and I had a poster of them in my room. And my favourite flower at the time was a rose. I combined them at the time and I thought I was really cool. It was the user name I used for signing up for everything and it just so happened to be the name I used on Instagram.
Can anyone become a social influencer?
Of course. A couple of years ago, I was sitting in a classroom in Ardee Community School, doing the Junior cert. Now I have almost 12,500 followers – I started that in Ardee, sitting in my room.
There’s so many blogs out there giving advice and showing you how to do it. There’s always going to be A-listers of the YouTube and Instagram world, there always will be. But that doesn’t mean anyone can’t do it. It hasn’t really hit Ireland yet.
It’s easier to almost shape yourself and tailor the image you want to present when you’re starting out versus those who are established already and have an audience. It allows you to present yourself and who you are.